There have been a lot of decisions recently by the Disney Court of Character Rights, sitting in Never-Never Land. Here is a round-up
Simba v Scar
In this case, Simba brought a case for breach of article 6, claiming that he was not given a fair trial against allegations of murdering his father Mustafa and that his uncle Scar in effect banished him from the Kingdom, thereafter seizing the throne.
The Court held that Scar was not in breach of Article 6, which does stipulate that in Act One, the antagonist is entitled to pass judgment and sentence on the protagonist on fairly superficial or even fabricated evidence and that the general population will go along with this PROVIDED that in Act Three there is the opportunity for redemption and forgiveness. The Court were persuaded by Scar’s evidence that prior to the death of King Mustafa, the Applicant Simba had been heard jauntily singing a song to the effect that he just couldn’t wait to be King (this being prima facie evidence of his desire for his father to die)
Fundamentally the Court felt that bringing this claim in Act One was premature and that Simba in the spirit of the Disney Character Rights Act ought to wait until Act Three to see if the injustice is remedied.
The Court found that Scar had given every reasonable opportunity for an Act Three turnaround – he had adopted a suspicious name (Scar), he had a suspicious British accent (see also Mowgli v Shere Khan) and he had properly followed the principles that Evil Antagonists Should Be Bad Rulers in somehow bringing hunger and misery to a previously thriving and colourful kingdom in a remarkably short period of time.
They did however feel that Scar’s actions in allocating two hyenas Rozencrantz and Guildenstern to be Simba’s comedy sidekicks, and the choice of song “Hasa Diga Ebowai” to be in breach of all regulation and guidance on inspirational comedy sidekicks (see also the Court’s previous decision in Ariel, where the antagonist’s choice of a rotting alcoholic squid for a comedy sidekick for the protagonist was quashed and replaced with a cheerful upbeat crab)
The Court therefore ordered that two more suitable comedy sidekicks be provided and they recommended that the song be more upbeat, suggesting “Hakuna Mutada”, which they explain means no worries for the rest of your days.
Advocates are asked to take note of the Court’s remarks in the judgment that “a little bit of Elton John may be considered acceptable, but two hours of it is a bit much”
Prince Hans of the Southern Isles v Anna
Prince Hans was claiming breach of Article 7, “Right of Princes to marry Princesses” in relation to Princess Anna’s decision to break off their engagement and marry Kristoff, a commoner ice-farmer instead.
The Court held that although Article 7 has widespread applicability, it was wrong for Prince Hans to assert that it gave him the right to marry a specific and identified princess rather than just a generic right that he would marry A princess.
In relation to the claim that Princess Anna marrying a commoner would inexorably lead to other Princesses marrying people who were not princes and thus lead to it being impossible for Article 7 to be satisfied, the Court felt that this had some force, but cited as precedent earlier decisions of the Disney Court of Character Rights in relation to Characters falling in love with people from a different social circle
[Lady and Tramp – in which the re-enactment of the spaghetti-eating sequence caused one Judge to state in his judgment that “It nearly broke my heart” and the later case of Thomas O’Malley (The Alley Cat) and his marriage to an cat who was so posh that she wore a necklace. ]
They determined that the inherent nature of Princesses to want to marry Princes was so strong that an occasional deviation such as this would not set a precedent. (One minority judgment held that once Kristoff married the Princess he would become a Prince anyway, thus satisfying Article 7)
The Court further held that in relation to Princess Anna breaking off the engagement to Prince Hans, his failure to be her One True Love and kiss her to break a curse was a material breach of his One True Love article 9 duties towards her, compounded by his later attempt to murder her, and her sister. Anna was therefore entitled to terminate the engagement.
Additionally, as the engagement had never been approved by the defacto Queen, Elsa, it was questionable whether there was in law, an engagement to break.
The Court determined that Prince Hans “had had it coming” and declined to give him the relief that he had sought. In short, they concluded that he should let it go. [The same minority judgment opined that “Princess Anna, is indisputably hot, but it is plain that she is also high-maintenance and pretty tiring and Hans might be best to consider it a lucky escape. I myself had had enough of her after about ten minutes”]
Mirror Mirror v Disney Court of Character Rights
This is satellite litigation arising from Snow White v Wicked Queen, where Snow White established that administration of a poisoned apple leading her to fall asleep was a breach of her article 5 right to liberty. (Who can ever forget Lady Hale’s moving song “A gilded cage is still a cage”? )
Within that, evidence was heard from the Wicked Queen’s mirror, particularly as to motivation and intent. The mirror was only able to answer questions that were put to it in rhyming couplets (the first of which should be related to the mirror’s geographical location)
That led to questions being put to the witness such as “Mirror Mirror on a kite – Did the Queen intend to detain Snow White?” and “Mirror Mirror on the quilty – do you say the Queen is guilty?” and from those representing the Wicked Queen – “Mirror Mirror resting on bacon – could you perhaps have been mistaken?” and “Mirror Mirror in a bath of acid – wouldn’t you say the Queen’s overall nature was placid?”
For such questions, the mirror was hoisted up on a kite, or laid on a quilt, or in the worst example, put in a bath of acid for the duration of the question.
The Mirror claimed that this amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3. Sadly, the Court were unable to explore this claim properly without the Mirror being hoisted up onto a kite or such again, with the very first question proposed
“Mirror Mirror down the drain – how do you establish your claim” being in itself potentially a breach of article 3
The Court settled this claim by writing the Mirror a substantial cheque and asking it to go away.
Sleepy v Doc and the Six men wearing shoes on their knees band
Litigation over the royalty rights to the original songs created by the Seven Dwarves (Hi Ho, Hi Ho being the major hit of the original band) rages on. Of the original line-up, only Doc is left in the band, and he claims that he wrote all the original material and is entitled to perform it with the Seven Dwarves tribute band. As readers will know, Dopey signed away his rights for some magic beans, Sneezy is in his fifth year of rehab, Grumpy is now in a death-metal band, Happy proclaims himself content with the situation, and Bashful was too publicity shy to enter the litigation, leaving only Sleepy to litigate. Progress has been slow, due in part to narcolepsy in the witness box.
Buzz Lightyear v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company
Over in Pixar litigation, this case continues into its seventh year, with the Court hearing from expert witnesses as to whether “To Infinity and Beyond” was a contractual obligation to which Mr Lightyear could be forced to meet or rather a puff of advertising. Mr Potato-head remains in custody, having taken the stand as a character witness for Mr Lightyear and then having appeared again subsequently using facial pieces stolen from Mrs Potato-head to give evidence whilst pretending to be her.
Mr Lightyear’s request to call Andy, his owner, as a character witness was refused, on the basis of the application of the Uncanny Valley principle (in short that the real people in Pixar just give everyone the creeps because they just don’t look right)
In other news
The big money divorce of Perdita v Pongo has reached a conclusion. There was considerable consternation in Court when Perdita revealed that Pongo had been pressurising her into starting a second litter. The Puppy Maintenance payments ordered by the Court are believed to be the biggest on record, and the schedule of Puppy Arrangement Orders setting out when Pongo would spend time with each puppy ran to seven lever arch files.
Baloo’s cookery programme has been taken off air after several claims for food-poisoning due to viewers following his advice to “take a glance at the fancy ants, and maybe try a few” were settled out of Court. There are also allegations that Baloo had been moon-lighting as Little John, and his showbiz career appears to be in tatters.
The lower Courts have confirmed that in Backtrack v Mowgli that when King Louis stated baldy “Oh, Shooby-Doo, Nothing Else Will do –ooh-ooh” he had never intended to mean that literally nothing else will do. Nor did he literally want to walk like you, or talk like you. It’s plain to see, that someone like Louis, can learn to be, like someone like you.
[And I’m sure that you are now humming I wanna be a man, mancub, and stroll right into town – so here it is for you. ]
If you don’t happen to read Adam Wagner’s UK Human Rights blog which inspired this pastiche, I’ll recommend it to you. It has a much broader focus than this blog, and you can usually find something very thought-provoking there – whether it be what should be done with King Richard II’s bones, whether people should have the right to die with dignity or where the limits of religious conscientious objection to abortions stretch in relation to Catholic midwives – and today, why Strasbourg was chosen as the correct venue for the European Court of Human Rights – it is nothing to do with geese, apparently.
It is immensely useful when the Press are having one of their periodical fits of morality, and you want to find out a bit more about what’s behind the story.